Zoom is offering a new video background feature that could help people feel they are sitting together for a meeting. The Immersive View appears to borrow the core concept from Microsoft Teams Together Mode.
Zoom’s new Immersive View feature will let meeting participants sit next to their fellow video call participants. The feature can reportedly mimic a classroom, a boardroom, a conference auditorium, etc.
A new feature in Zoom uses the same virtual background for all participants:
Back in mid-2020, Microsoft Teams announced a new feature called Together Mode to make virtual communication seem more engaging and natural. Together Mode uses AI segmentation technology to digitally place meeting participants in a shared background. This made it feel like the users are sitting in the same room as everyone else.
Microsoft started with an “Auditorium” background and promised other backgrounds like classrooms, board rooms, cafeteria, etc. The company had claimed that the Together Mode would make “meetings more engaging by helping you focus on other people’s faces and body language and making it easier to pick up on the nonverbal cues that are so important to human interaction.”
For better or worse, Zoom Immersive View replicates the feeling of an in-person meeting. https://t.co/RXzQx72vJg
— PCMag (@PCMag) April 26, 2021
Zoom has essentially offered a very similar product called Immersive View. The feature builds on the virtual backgrounds that Zoom already has.
However, as in the case of Together Mode, Immersive View focuses on placing meeting attendees in a single realistic-looking location, rather than just switching to a flat background. Meeting hosts can enable Immersive View from the same menu where they can find Speaker View and Gallery View.
— 9to5Mac.com (@9to5mac) April 26, 2021
The feature also allows hosts to resize attendees, move them around the scene, and upload their own scenes if they get bored of Zoom’s options. Hosts can use any image for the feature. However, Zoom advises matching the file type, aspect ratio, and resolution recommendations it has for virtual backgrounds to get the best results.
How to use Immersive View in Zoom Meetings:
The new Immersive View is now available on Zoom for Windows and macOS for all Free and single Pro accounts using Zoom 5.6.3 or higher. Users can enable the feature via the web portal for all other account types.
- Hosts can start the Zoom meeting on their desktop.
- Choose from one of Zoom’s provided scenes to put the meeting participants in. Users will find layouts for groups of up to 25 people, as well as some for smaller groups. Users can also upload their own backgrounds.
- Meeting participants or webinar hosts will be in the same virtual background and will appear that way on every participant’s screen. Hosts can also move participants around in a scene and resize their image.
Sometimes we need a change of scenery, even on Zoom! 🏞️ Now, you can use our new Immersive View to bring people into a scene, like a classroom, fireside chat, or boardroom. #ZoomProTip pic.twitter.com/HGh0bOpBho
— Zoom (@Zoom) April 26, 2021
Strangely, the new feature has a few weird limitations. For calls larger than 25 people, the remaining participants will be left hanging in a strip of video thumbnails at the top of the scene.
Moreover, participants need to update their Zoom application, otherwise, they will remain as the odd man out with their own background. Additionally, hosts won’t be able to record meetings in Immersive view. Instead, recordings will appear as Gallery or Speaker layout.